crisp's presidential youth debate


In a world that is increasingly interconnected, we have to take down the artificial wall between foreign and domestic policy issues, because increasingly they impact on one another. We must resist those who believe that now that the Cold War is over, the United States can completely return to focusing on problems within our borders and ignore those beyond our borders. At the end of the Cold War, America truly is the world's indispensable nation. There are times when only America can make the difference between war and peace, between freedom and repression, between hope and fear. We cannot and should not try to be the world's policeman. But where our interests and values are clearly at stake, and where we can make a difference, we must act and lead.

When I took office, the bloodiest war in Europe since World War II was raging in Bosnia. Thanks to U.S.-led NATO air strikes, American diplomacy, and IFOR's peacekeeping efforts, the war is over, and elections have been held. The Bosnian people are now getting on with their very hard work of rebuilding their lives, their land, their economy. None of it will be easy, but America acted, our partners and allies acted. And think of what would have happened if we had walked away.

When I took office, dictators terrorized Haiti. They forced tens of thousands of refugees to flee. But we backed American diplomacy with military force and the power of an international coalition. The dictators are gone, Haiti's democracy is back, the flight from fear has ended. Difficulties remain, but think what it would be like if America had not acted.

Nowhere are our interests more engaged than in Europe. When Europe is at peace, our security is strengthened. When Europe prospers, so does America. Remarkable generations of Americans have invested in Europe's peace and freedom with their own sacrifice. They fought two world wars. They had the vision to create NATO and the Marshall Plan. Now that that freedom has been won, it is this generation's responsibility to ensure that it will not be lost again.

With our help, the forces of reform in Europe's newly free nations have laid the foundations of democracy. They have political parties and free elections, an independent media, civilian control of the military. We've helped them to develop successful market economies and markets for American exports. We have created a process to enlarge NATO, first with the Partnership for Peace, so prospective new members can gain practical experience they need to join NATO. By 1999, NATO's 50th anniversary and 10 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first group of countries we invite to join should be full-fledged members of NATO.

As we enter the 21st century, we must make a commitment to remain true to the legacy of America's leadership -- to make sure America remains the indispensable nation, not only for ourselves, but for what we believe in and for all the people of the world. That is our burden. That is our opportunity. And it must be our future.

From the end of World War II, until the fall of the Berlin Wall, our foreign policy was governed by the Cold War. In 1989, we entered a new era of foreign policy. While democracy is vitally important, we need to stop the senseless and reckless deployment of our troops into the internal affairs of other countries. We want to impose democracy by example and not by force.